Like “Bed,” “Die” cast a beautiful actress best known for lighter roles (Farrah Fawcett in “Bed,” Raquel Welch in “Die”) in a story about a serious disease or social issue (domestic violence in “Bed,” euthanasia in “Die”).
Both movies put their leading ladies through the wringer – Fawcett appears bloodied in “Bed;” Welch – as a woman stricken with Lou Gehrig’s disease – suffers severe physical deterioration.
And, of course, “Bed” and “Die” are both “based on a true story” – a TV movie requisite.
Other films that followed this formula include “Stone Pillow,” which cast Lucille Ball as a homeless woman; “Nobody’s Child” (Marlo Thomas in a mental institution), Ann Jillian (recreating her real-life battle against breast cancer in “The Ann Jillian Story”) and “Wild Texas Wind” (Dolly Parton as another battered woman).
None of the movies achieved the same level of success as “The Burning Bed.”
Reviews for “Right to Die” were lukewarm.
“The film attempts to rationalize a patently immoral act and fails,” the Washington Post’s Tom Shales observed.
“For all the promotional mileage that NBC has gotten out of Raquel Welch leaving her makeup kit behind to tackle ‘serious’ drama … the truth of ‘Right To Die’ is she merely trades in her mascara and blush for a different kind of mask,” wrote the Chicago Sun-Times’ Lloyd Sachs.
Another difference between “Right to Die” and “The Burning Bed:” the latter stands as the fourth most-watched TV movie of all time; the former drew just 15 million households, finishing 25th in the weekly ratings.
From the Pages of TV Guide
Also airing Oct. 12, 1987:
8 PM CBS FRANK’S PLACE – Comedy-Drama
Frank’s introduction to the men’s social clubs begins with a wild night with Tiger (Charles Lampkin) and his friends, followed by lunch with a fellow Brown alumnus (Ron O’Neal), whose own club is a little more reserved – and restricted. Broussard: Jay Flash Riley. Grand Driver: Jay Brooks. Anna-May: Francesca P. Roberts. Big Arthur: Tony Burton.
8 PM NBC ALF (CC)
ALF, upset by a lie his parents told him, becomes the hairiest monk in history in order to “contemplate life’s vicissitudes.” Brother Ed: John M. Miranda. Willie: Max Wright.
8:30 NBC VALERIE’S FAMILY (CC)
There’s a hitch in the twins’ school project on marriage when Willie goes after Mark’s wife, while David (Jason Bateman) tries to best Sandy … at anything. Sandy: Sandy Duncan. Tracy Nash: Kellie Martin. Janice Sommers: Aimee Brooks. Willie: Danny Ponce.
9 PM ABC TO BE ANNOUNCED; 2 hrs.
9 PM CBS NEWHART (CC)
Pressed to come up with an idea for a new TV show, Michael (Peter Scholari) steals one from a student in the TV-production class he’s teaching. Neal: John Zarchen. Bill Coder: John Putch. Dick: Bob Newhart. Bev: Linda Carlson. George: Tom Poston.